It would be hard to imagine Aftermath getting any darker than it has already, but “What the Thunder Said” does so almost effortlessly. The RV overheats and Mt. Rainier is close to erupting and the Copeland’s run into a “monk.” At least the bald man in the suit and no shoes says he is and he can perform miracles.
Seconds after almost running the barefoot monk down, the travelers come under fire from a sniper. As the family scramble to take cover, the monk does not move, neither does Joshua as he has been shot.
As the family fight to find where the shooter is, the monk waves his arms and blows the sniper to bits. Miracle number one performed with little to no perspiration on the part of the shoeless man.
Miracle number two follows shortly after when the monk removes the bullet from Joshua’s abdomen with his bare hands. He then sprinkles his “tea leaves” on the wound. It does not take long before Joshua is on his feet again.
This then is miracle number two.
There is a moment for a more lighthearted bit of interchange between Karen, Dana and Martin. Mom catches the two in a clinch and begins a rapid fire Q&A session with the Ranger. Even though the military man is much older than her daughter, Karen gives the couple her blessing.
The volcano is still close to erupting and the family are rushing to get off the mountain. Dana worries about her dad and Martin tries to make her feel better. He tells her the only people who die are the ones who think they will.
The monk suggests that the family drive back up the hill and stop the volcano. He tells them that there is a prayer wheel they can use and that the road ahead is out.
After seeing that Joshua’s wound has completely healed, Karen decides she will find the prayer wheel the monk spoke of while the rest of the family head to the avalanche shelters.
Jane decides to tag along as her mission is still to protect Karen and the family. As the RV heads to the shelter they come across as couple of climbers walking down the mountain. Joshua tells Martin to pull the vehicle over and pick them up.
Martin is not keen on the idea but he stops.
Steve, the male mountain climber, argues that they should all get off the mountain and the family start to leave Steve and his girlfriend Anna. The volcano rumbles again and the couple decide to get on the RV regardless of where it is heading.
On the mountain Karen, Jane and the Monk find the prayer wheel. It is on the ground and has been shaped with small white stones. Karen is meant to stand in the middle of the wheel.
Jane grabs Karen’s gun and tells her that she is going into the wheel. Back on the RV, Martin argues with Dana about the two mountain climbers. The two also talk about their relationship and Martin declares his love for Dana.
At the prayer wheel Jane explains she wants her son back. The monk tells her that the result will not be what she expects and she shoots him. At the avalanche shelter, Steve makes his move and Anna follows.
Jane steps into the wheel and nothing happens. Suddenly the stones lift into the air and Jane is sucked into the earth. At the shelter the family put down their guns as Steve has a climbers pick aimed at Dana’s throat.
Anna grabs a gun and Martin tries to talk the couple down. He almost succeeds. Steve is lowering the axe when his girlfriend shoots Martin pointblank in the chest killing him.
Matt goes nuts and beats Steve to the ground. He then grabs Anna and after tying her hands with her own belt, starts to hang her. Joshua stops him while Dana huddles next to Martin’s body.
He talks Matt into sparing Anna but in exchange he forces the couple to leave on foot knowing that they will die.
The volcano erupts.
At the prayer wheel the monk is still alive, and he has the gun Jane held when she was sucked into the ground. He gives the weapon to Karen. He invites her to come with him to his next destination. She asks if her family will be there and the monk answers honestly that he does not know.
The monk disappears and Karen has to outrun the lava from the volcano. As she runs down the mountainside, the family rush to the shelters. Dana does not go into the shelter and Karen falls into a fissure opened up by the falling rocks.
This episode of Aftermath left the mystical and magical elements out, except for the monk. His short tale, his monastery vanished before his eyes and he woke up in “this vessel,” was simple. His miracles were impressive, if they indeed were miracles, and he exuded a feeling of calm acceptance.
It is interesting that both of Booner’s shooters pegged out in the same episode. Jane’s last minute decision was surprising and sad.
Martin’s death was shocking. Although, like any war film cliche, his little spiel to Dana pretty much meant something nasty was going to happen to the him.
Speaking of Dana, her detour away from the shelters could result in her death. Karen, who is now in a hole in the mountain and possible covered with rocks may also be gone.
“What the Thunder Said,” has one heck of a cliffhanger ending.
The entire Copeland family have grown in a very short time. Each family member has matured in some way and it helps the story move along.
In terms of performances, each member of this ensemble cast bring something to the table. While some of the CG used in the show can best be described as “lacking” the actors all manage to overcome any FX shortfalls.
Initially, Heche felt a tad too cold but as the show has progressed the rigidity has faded and been replaced with a bit more compassion. Not too much, though as she is still the rock the family depend upon.
Taylor Hickson and Julie Sarah Stone both bring a lot to the table. James Tupper and Levi Madden do as well. This end of the world scenario, presented as an “End of Days” apocalyptic event, is interesting and thought provoking.
If the world began to fall apart tomorrow (not too far fetched considering the election going on in America and Britain’s Brexit decision) how many families could do what the Copeland’s are doing.
Aftermath airs Tuesdays on SyFy. Tune in and see if the monk with no name comes back with any more dark miracles.
- James Tupper – Joshua Copeland
- Anne Heche – Karen Copeland
- Levi Meaden – Matt Copeland
- Taylor Hickson – Brianna Copeland
- Julia Sarah Stone – Dana Copeland
- Janet Kidder – Aunt Sally
- Peter Bryant – Dr. Rawlins
- Mitchell Kummen – Devyn
- Madison Smith – Martin Winters
- Sharon Taylor – Jane